CHARLESTON - A Kanawha County dog breeder says the West Virginia Racing Commission has failed to distribute its surplus to the state's breeders.
Sam Burdette filed a lawsuit Nov. 6 in Kanawha Circuit Court against the commission, Chairman Andrew Payne and members George Sidiropolis and Dr. Bryan Mitchell, alleging that the commission has an obligation to distribute parts of a surplus fund among the state's dog breeders.
The lawsuit is a complaint for declaratory judgment and writ of mandamus.
The Greyhound Breeding Development Fund was created by the state Legislature in the early 1990s, hoping to encourage better breeders for the state's racing dogs. Currently, the state has two dog tracks -- in Cross Lanes and Wheeling.
The complaint says the fund takes a percentage from live and online betting and video lottery proceeds to supplement awards and purses at the two tracks. It adds that the fund's surplus has grown to $3.9 million.
The statute that created the fund, according to the complaint, says that "The monies shall be expended by the racing commission for purses for stake races, supplemental purse awards, administration, promotion and education programs involving West Virginia whelped dogs."
Attorney H. Wyatt Hanna II is representing Burdette, who seeks a court forcing the commission to distribute the money in the fund to him "and other similarly situated individuals as owners of qualified West Virginia-bred greyhounds eligible to receive supplemental purse awards."
Judge Charles King has been assigned the case.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number 06-C-2368